Hey, We’re Open Source Again! Eclipse Unveils Jakarta EE 8

Quarkus Java containers

The enterprise developers’ edition of Java has gone completely open source with a new version managed entirely by the Eclipse Foundation. The Foundation released Jakarta EE 8 with a flourish yesterday.

Jakarta took a winding road to get to this point. Originally called J2EE when released in 1999, it was renamed to Java EE in 2006. Then, Oracle bought Sun three years later, which locked the product up in Fort Larry for the best part of a decade.

Citing a wish to make things more open, it agreed to give Java EE back to the open source community in 2017, choosing the Eclipse Foundation. While it gave the Foundation the IP rights to the code, though, it held onto the name. So Eclipse had to find another one. Hence, Jakarta.

Since then, the Foundation has been working on Jakarta EE 8 as the first version of Java EE in years ratified by an external open source organization. That’s what shipped today. The community has replaced the Java Community Process (JCP) with the Jakarta EE Specification Process and the Eclipse Development Process, and has developed the product using those.

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Eclipse chief executive director Mike Milinkovich summed it up:

“Jakarta EE 8 gives software vendors, more than 10 million Java developers, and thousands of enterprises the foundation they need to migrate Java EE applications and workloads to a standards-based, vendor-neutral, open source enterprise Java stack.”

What this means for enterprise Java developers is that they can now move to Jakarta EE 8 without having to change their Java EE 8 code. Glassfish, the application server that Oracle inherited from Sun and gave to Eclipse, is certified on it, as is IBM’s Open Liberty server.

It also gives enterprise Java developers the ability to fold cloud technologies like Kubernetes into an open source product, Milinkovich said.

What’s next for Jakarta EE? Expect changes in its future. Because Oracle clung to all the Java trademarks, it also meant that Eclipse couldn’t modify the javax package namespace. That means while it kept javax for this open source release, it will eventually abandon that namespace.

That’s for a future version, though. As of now, Jakarta EE 8 represents a full leap to open source, which should please a lot of enterprise Java developers.

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